Monday, March 3, 2008

A rough weekend

Just when you think the coming period will be relatively quiet, two disturbing events took place the last few days: the deployment of the U.S.S. Cole warship just outside Lebanese waters and the call for immediate evacuation of all Saudi Arabian citizens by their government, followed by a similar call by the Kuwaiti government, but they were quick to deny this.

What to think of the arrival of the U.S.S. Cole? Does America really believe that this aggressive act will scare Hezbollah/Damascus into compliance? It could, if America would be prepared to actually use the military might of the U.S.S. Cole, but that’s highly unlikely. Right now, it seems yet another misread of the Arab situation by the Americans who can’t stop believing that peace does not necessarily come from the end of a gun.

It is worrisome that the U.S.S. Cole arrived shortly after the new American ambassador, Mrs. Michele Sison, set foot on Lebanese soil, leading to speculations that she has been huffing and puffing for this boat to demonstrate she’s one tough cookie. Not a very surprising approach obviously, since she has been appointed by a government that feels Iraq is a great success. In any case, her statement upon arrival in Beirut a few weeks ago that America rejects foreign interference in Lebanon’s internal affairs is quite ironic in hindsight.

All throughout her predecessor’s presence in Lebanon, nothing like this has ever happened, which would indicate a change of course: America is willing to get tougher and who knows, perhaps Bush is looking for a way to leave a mark on history before his presidency is over. He might be considering for a way to go down in a blaze of glory. But again, the USA won’t scare anyone if they’re not willing to use the U.S.S. Cole. What’s even worse, they undermined the position of acting president Siniora who was the first to deny having asked for the boat.

Another speculation was that the U.S.S. Cole was sent to the shores of Lebanon to assist during a possible evacuation. Adding fuel to the fire was the call for immediate evacuation by the Saudi Arabian embassy just a day later, followed by a similar call from the Kuwait’s. The latter denied having asked for evacuation, but that didn’t really make people feel good.

America and the Holy Kingdom are very close, so do they know something was going down? I doubt it since America would be the first to advise its citizens to leave. Since they have not done that (yet), it seems there is no clear indication of possible violence, other than the threats against the Saudis.

It’s good to realize that such threats would be most likely coming from extremist Sunni militants and thus would have nothing to do with Hezbollah, Syria or Iran. Then again, it’s quite human to rationalize away any threat. Just look at the statement of Lebanese foreign minister Tariq Mitri who declared that the threat is targeted only against the Saudi’s.

Right, the rest of us can stay here and party on.


Anonymous said...

Mark my words my friend;
How to distract the Arabs from the Israeli war, the massacre against children and new born babies, or you can say the Israeli - NAZI holocaust השואה in Gaza????
Simply just send them the USS Cole and watch them searching for a rock to hide under and start blaming each other.
Since when the US started caring for Arabs, Sunni, Shiite, Christians, March 14 or March 8? The US cares only for Israel and the safety of Israel.
We’ve born on ideas that IRAN and the US are enemies for life, and the irony seen on TV this weekend when Ahmadi Najad, the US puppet, visited Iraq protected by his fellows, the US army!! Funny ha?

Rami said...

I strongly agree. I believe it is all to distract the arab world from what's happening in Gaza.
I really don't understand why some figures refuse to be a LITTLE bit optimistic... nobody wants a war, not even hizbollah IMHO.

Anonymous said...

Some sort of confrontation is needed to break the stalemate and get out of this quagmire.The USS Cole may be there to assert it, although your suggestion that it is there just to show off its new US ambassador, is interesting and ironic.

In response to the ignorant anonymous israeli, let me tell you that the tide is turning and America cares more about Arabs now than it ever did before for Israel. Proof is that many Americans have died and are dying for an Arab cause than they ever did for an Israeli cause. Average Americans have finally started to ask themselves why is America so much protective of Israel?